Recent Staffing Changes

New Staff

At Merryhill, we are very fortunate to have an incredibly low turnover of staff with many of our team members having been with the company for many years.

Some of you will have come to know Sandie Lendon (office Manager). After over 11 years of loyal service, she has now moved on to a part-time role and to focus more on her family. Sandie has handed over the management of the office and administration team to Michelle Savage who began in December.

Following a handover period, Michelle is setting in very well indeed. Michelle brings with her extensive experience in managing an administrative function along with knowledge of accounts and HR. We are delighted to welcome her to the team.

New Administrator

In addition to Michelle, Hannah Shepherd also joined Merryhill in December. Coming from outside of the asbestos industry and administration in general, Hannah joins from the hospitality sector and brings with her a wide skill-base which includes excellent customer service and being incredibly organised.

Hannah is the point of contact for all of our local authority / housing clients. Hannah works very closely with our operations department and site teams to manage the often busy workload whilst also keeping tenants happy.

Confined Space Training Completed

Confined Space Training

At Merryhill, we take the safety of our site teams very seriously.

Asbestos can often be found in awkward places such as undercrofts, attics, duct systems and basements. All of these scenarios have one thing in common, they are all often confined spaces.

The HSE defines a confined space as: “a place which is substantially enclosed (though not always entirely), and where serious injury can occur from hazardous substances or conditions within the space or nearby (e.g. lack of oxygen).”

Merryhill work with a number of clients that require our teams to have confined space training. The training provider, 3D’s Training UK Ltd were thorough and the trainer very interactive.

Merryhill have used a number of providers of the years, but this particular course struck a chord as it was delivered in such a positive and engaging way. The way training is delivered is often more important than the content. For a number of the people on the course it was a refresher so keeping people who already have some knowledge can be a challenge.

We’re pleased to say that all people who partook the course all passed with flying colours, well done to all those involved.

Merryhill Promote Supervisors

Merryhill Promote 2 Asbestos Supervisors

Merryhill are delighted to announce 2 significant promotions within the business.

Having proved himself working as a senior supervisor for a number of years, Dan Stephen has recently been promoted to a Project Manager.

Dan’s new role will see him take on additional responsibilities, including writing plans of work and manage larger projects as opposed to supervising them.

Dan will also work with the site teams to help them problem solve on site and also represent them much more vocally to our back-office support team. In addition he will be invited to meetings at management level to discuss site based issues in real time.

Alongside Dan’s promotion is Rob Moody. Having begun his career at Merryhill as an asbestos operative, Rob has progressed rapidly over the past 3 years, becoming a supervisor and taking on larger projects.

Rob has agreed to fill Dan’s boots as the new Senior Supervisor following his fantastic work at the Louise Margaret Hospital project. Rob will be expected to push on from that job and run the larger projects, solving problems on site and create safe working environments for our site teams to work.

Both Rob and Dan will be undergoing additional training over the coming months to help them with their new roles.

Following the promotions, Andrew Dart, Director said: “I am immensely proud of both these individuals and all our site teams. Rob and Dan’s promotions both showcase our commitment to staff development and improving individual skill sets. In a complex and often challenging industry, we rely on our site teams to provide the best possible service to clients. Only through continuous training and dedication can the most difficult asbestos removal projects be successfully carried out. Merryhill has a longstanding history of undertaking challenging works that others have turned away. Our people are the reason we are able to continue in this fashion.”

Trusting Your Asbestos Contractor

Trust your asbestos contractor

When dealing with asbestos, trust in your removal contractor or surveyor is of the upmost importance. When removal works have been completed, the expectation of the building occupier should be that the job has been done accurately, leaving no residual contamination.

When asked to carry out an additional asbestos survey on a military site earlier this year, Merryhill obliged, but the outcome for the customer was surprising. As part of a complete building refurbishment, the only remaining area that required a survey was a small boiler room and disused riser. When the on-site contractor asked if this would be possible, our surveying team visited the site and took the necessary samples to ensure no residual asbestos was going to remain once it was all sealed. Upon inspection, our surveyors noticed some board at the top of the riser, but was unable to reach it using a ladder. Upon asking if there was access from above, they were then escorted to a plant room within the roof space. The required samples were taken and subsequently tested positive as being AIB, containing Amosite fibres. What the surveyor found whilst in the plant room were a number of sections of pipe lagging debris which they also suspected to contain asbestos. Further samples were taken and they too tested positive.

The findings alarmed the building manager as removal works had already been carried out in the plant room and the necessary compliance testing passed. A further inspection of the plant room by the surveyor highlighted a number of other areas where asbestos had been left as debris. Admittedly, the plant room was an awkward environment in which to clean with lots of equipment and restricted ceiling heights, but working procedures should have taken this into account. When working in restricted areas, particular care should be taken to fully remove all residue, especially in corners, behind pipes and under equipment. Once removal works have been carried out, a visual inspection is then used to spot any remaining debris as act accordingly. It would appear in this case, a visual check had not been done thoroughly enough.

The building manager had lost all faith in the previous attempts to remove asbestos and began to question other services such as surveys which had been carried out by the same supplier. Merryhill were asked to re-survey other sections of the building as a result and discovered even more residual asbestos debris.

Delight and disappointment were felt simultaneously by the building owner who subsequently had to pay for additional removal works, on top of the extra surveys. Not only did this put the refurbishment works back, but also ate into contingency budgets.

The moral of this story highlights the trust put in both asbestos removal contractors and surveyors by facilities managers and building owners. Had the boiler room not been surveyed and questions asked of the suspect top panel, then potentially many trade’s people could have been exposed to the residual asbestos found in the plant room, ceiling voids and radiator elements.

Besides the potential for lawsuits, morally, the job of an asbestos surveyor is to provide trust. Trust in the findings so that those responsible for a building can take the appropriate action. If this trust is broken, or there are any doubts as to the validity of the survey then the consequences can be huge.

Merryhill Asbestos Testing & Consultancy is separate company to Merryhill Envirotec and is a fully UKAS accredited practice offering both asbestos management and refurbishment and demolition surveys.